Romney's Diplomacy Problem
Mr. Romney's recent diplomatic gaffes in England reveal a deeper, more troubling issue than that of an unprepared presidential candidate.
Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
Normally, you'd have to script something as bizarre as this. And normally, one wouldn't expect it to come from someone like Mitt Romney, being that his normal demeanor is so stoic it prompts jokes about him being a cyborg. But leave it to the possibly cyborg to give the diplomatic world a candid view of his social skills in front of a world audience on the eve of the Olympic games.
Upon arriving in the United Kingdom, the host nation for this year's games, Mr. Romney met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in what was supposed to be an easy demonstration of his foreign relations skills, tailored to an American audience in the final months before a presidential election. During the meeting he publicly questioned whether the city of London was ready to hold the games, after which Mr. Cameron responded by admitting it must be harder to plan for the Olympic games to be held in London than "in the middle of nowhere" (referring to Romney's management of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City).
Of course, this was just the beginning for the former Massachusetts governor. His next idea was to try and strike common ground with Britain by commenting on America's "anglo-saxon heritage." A few offensive remarks and a few hours later and Romney had devolved at a rate that surely has Charles Darwin turning over in his grave, from presidential candidate to rich prep school student on a family vacation to London.
A Revolutionary Accomplishment
It's hard to recall another instance in living memory when someone has offended so many people at the same time in more than one country. What makes the former governor's achievement here that much more surprising is that he somehow managed to anger people during the Olympics. Countries have stopped wars in observance of the Olympics, and yet somehow the supreme, hair-greased ignorance of Mr. Romney's comments have actually temporarily stolen the front page from Olympics coverage in the national press of the host country. Human history has rarely seen such a threat to the established idea of etiquette, or for that matter the broader concept of post-enlightenment thinking. At a time when the United States is slowly being crippled under the massive weight of its own trade deficit, we can only hope that Mr. Romney is not America's leading export.